A birthday to remember

As any long-term traveler knows, it can get lonely out here away from “home.” Holidays often are just another day of the week, or spent with people you barely know. You might go by a Christmas or birthday with no presents.

This year, I had my Thai “family” to celebrate my birthday.

I had been forewarned to be ready for a motorcycle ride to Nan’s at 6 pm. There were already about 7-8 people there when we arrived – but an important family was missing, the one with little Tung Mu and her sister.

We sat around for awhile before food was placed in front of me. I sensed a delay was going on and I didn’t want to eat by myself. The rest were waiting for something.

Finally, Tung Mu, her sister and mother arrived. I told them I would have been disappointed if they weren’t there. There were now 15 of us and it was time to party!

Unlike last week, when I was offered a variety of foods I could not/would not eat, the fare this time was mostly edible for me – small shellfish with a ripping hot sauce, a large steamed tilapia (delicious), raw and steamed cabbage, the chicken/mushroom/coconut milk soup I like, a spicy red curry with chicken feet (No, I don’t) and very spicy fish balls, and rice (of course!) and noodles.

First, these photos are a perfect example of why I prefer using a real camera, but these cellcam pics will have to do. I’ll let the captions do the talking:


Tung Mu and her mother, Nan’s best friend. The gift was a tin of cookies, great for my morning coffee.


Kit-Kat candy – chocolate! Obviously, everyone was coached as to what I like.


Lots of gifts


A special cake


Nan’s friend, don’t know her name, but she likes the beer.


Seven fingers for seven decades.


Tung Mu’s older sister, whose wrapped candy bars required scissors to open.


Nan’s son and girlfriend, Noi. Their gift was a baseball cap embroidered with “Ken Anderberg” on the front. Not sure I want people to know my name everywhere I go, but nice.


Nan’s gift, besides the wonderful party, was a money belt



Nan obviously went to a lot of trouble for this, but then, when we had finished eating she realized she forgot the cake wherever it was bought. A quick dash and dessert was presented.


You can see the small shellfish in the center here. These were all sealed and required a certain “rubbing and poking” of the shell to open. They Thais know how, I was helpless. Tastes pretty good initially, with a late, unfortunate fishy taste. Tried them with the hot sauce and paid for my effort. Also shown: red curry and fish balls (center), chilli sauce to its left, the leftover tilapia carcass, and the chicken soup (top). 

About 2bagsandapack

Lifetime journalist, author, magazine editor and publisher, now semi-retired and traveling the world. My plan, after living in Costa Rica for 14 months, was to visit a new country in southern Europe every three months to experience the culture and the challenge of adapting to a new environment, while on a fixed income. That plan was sidetracked when I was offered a job in Indonesia, providing an opportunity to explore Asia. Indonesia lasted for a 4 wonderful years but I have now moved on to Hua Hin, Thailand.
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